Battery Yates

Battery Yates
Battery Yates, Sausalito, CA

Monday, October 6, 2014

Thoughts on Marriage

I woke up this morning next to my partner, Leigh, to whom I've been married since December 10, 2011. I didn't feel like a second-class citizen. My family, friends, and community have been very supportive of our union, with some minor (if now obsolete) exceptions. The businesses, banks, insurance companies, and institutions of Manhattan, Kansas, have rarely pointed out with discrimination the fact that my adoptive state had any other opinion on our marriage than full support. I can state with full awareness that I have been privileged enough to not suffer in ways that many LGBT Americans have and do.

And yet, on this evening, as I sit next to my husband--only now according to the State of Kansas by way of the Supreme Court of the United States--I feel a quite bearable, a very welcome lightness of being. It's only now, in the wake of the Court's non-decision decision, that I get what it means to not feel the threat of institutionalized discrimination, as opposed to such discrimination itself. These are two very different things--things that I have long known intellectually, but now only understand holistically.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Glamour On A Pig

A Review of The Wolf Among Us

Snow White: "So...starting now...we do everything cut and dried, by the book, straight as an arrow."
Colin: "Pure as driven snow..."
-From Episode IV: "In Sheep's Clothing"

I often think that life is an expectations game--or, at least, it is for me. Before I read a book, watch a film, play a game--or even do something more mundane, like head into a staff meeting or stop by Dillon's for the week's groceries--I instinctively develop a mental narrative of how that experience will unfold. My guess is that most people do this to some extent. How something plays out, then, inevitably stands in contrast with my expectation of that event; my resulting evaluation colors my memory, my attitudes shaping the very facts of the experience.

With The Wolf Among Us, I had very high expectations. A production of Telltale Games, one of my favorite game publishers (and based in my spiritual home of Marin County, California), the game uses a similar engine and format as The Walking Dead, Season One, one of the best games of recent years. It has a noir setting; draws on the smart comic series, Fables; features similarly breathtaking visuals as The Walking Dead; and stars many of the same excellent voice actors. My mental narrative was an exciting one. It foresaw The Wolf Among Us as a brilliant riff on Western fairy tales and urban legends, holding the Magic Mirror up to these classics and showing us their dark undercurrents.

Expectations can be fatal, however, to the success of a game. The writers behind The Wolf Among Us failed to pull together a coherent story, let alone one as smart and caustically insightful as The Walking Dead.